10 Most Beautiful Destinations in New Zealand

New Zealand is a country of stunning and diverse natural beauty: jagged mountains, rolling pasture land, steep fiords, pristine trout-filled lakes, raging rivers, scenic beaches, and active volcanic zones. These islands are one of Earth’s most peculiar bioregions, inhabited by flightless birds seen nowhere else such as a nocturnal, burrowing parrot called the kakapo and kiwi. Kiwi are not only one of the national symbols – the others being the silver fern leaf and koru – but also the name New Zealanders usually call themselves.

These islands are sparsely populated, particularly away from the North Island, but easily accessible. There are sparklingly modern visitor facilities, and transport networks are well developed with Airports throughout the country and well maintained highways. New Zealand often adds an adventure twist to nature: it’s the original home of jet-boating through shallow gorges, and bungy jumping off anything high enough to give a thrill.

Māori culture continues to play an important part in everyday life and government and corporate symbolism with abundant opportunities for visitors to understand and experience both the history and present day forms of Māori life.

1. Queenstown

Adrenalin and adventure capital of the world, where you can ski, skydive, bungy jump, jet-boat, and thrill yourself to your heart’s content

Queenstown is a scenic town in the South Island of New Zealand. It’s one of the most beautiful regions and offers year round attractions. The town sits on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by the Southern Alps. The most remarkable sight is the Remarkables, which is a saw-toothed range of mountains on the opposite side of the lake from the town.

2. Auckland

“The City of Sails”, the largest conurbation, with over a million in the metropolitan area

Auckland is the largest metropolitan area in both Polynesia and New Zealand. It is in the northern half of the North Island, on a narrow isthmus of land that joins the Northland peninsula to the rest of the North Island.

Queenstown lies at the only outlet to Lake Wakatipu (a bridge goes over the Kawarau River at Frankton), one of Otago and New Zealand’s most scenic lakes. It caters for tourists on a wide range of budgets, from backpackers to luxury tourists. In many respects Queenstown can be a tourist trap. However, reasonable prices and bargains can be found for those prepared to look for them.

3. Rotorua

famous for Māori culture, geysers and beautiful hot pools.

Rotorua is known as the thermal wonderland of New Zealand. Its hot springs and geysers have attracted tourists for over a hundred years. Rotorua sits on the shores of Lake Rotorua of New Zealand. There are several other lakes nearby. Along with the geothermal wonders, there are also the more usual water activities such as fishing, boating and white water rafting. Tourism is a major industry in Rotorua, and for good reason, the tourism services are therefore well developed and visitors should definitely make a stop at the Tourist Information Centre on the main road, Fenton Street.

4. Christchurch

still the “Garden City” and the “Air Gateway” to Antarctica even after the recent and continuing earthquakes. The third largest conurbation with a neat International Airport

Christchurch was established in 1850 by Anglican English settlers and this heritage shows in its fine older buildings, especially the neo-gothic buildings in the cultural precinct along Worcester Boulevard and Rolleston Ave. The River Avon meanders through the central city and disrupts the otherwise regular rectangular layout of the city streets.

Christchurch is known as the Garden City, a well-deserved name. Looking from a few floors up, one is struck by the number of trees that grow like a forest throughout the suburbs. The central business district is undergoing a major rebuild after earthquakes.

5. Wellington

the national capital, known as “The Windy City” – Parliament, the Beehive and the wonderful, totally free and exciting Te Papa museum.

Wellington offers a blend of culture, heritage, fine food, and lively arts and entertainment. Surrounded by hills and a rugged coastline, the city boasts a stunning harbour. Wellington’s charm is that it serves up a vibrant inner city experience with a slice of New Zealand scenery. And because of its compact nature, you can sample it all: boutiques, art galleries, trendy cafés and restaurants. Right on its doorstep is a network of walking and biking trails with beautiful wineries and vineyards just a few hours away. Wellington has an array of theatre, music, dance, fine arts and galleries and museums, and is home to one of the nation’s key attractions, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

The Windy City is built on the foreshore of Wellington Harbour and ringed by mountains, providing the scenic home of many of New Zealand’s national arts and cultural attractions.

6. Dunedin 

The “Edinburgh of the South”, proud of its Scots heritage, Southern Albatross colony, and its wonderful tramping tracks; all within a short drive from the CBD

Dunedin is the second-largest city and one of the main ports on the South Island of New Zealand, located in the Otago region. It is known as the Edinburgh of the South and is proud of its Scots heritage. This university town is named from the old Gaelic for Edinburgh and is noted for its unique Victorian railway, which is said to be the second most photographed building in the southern hemisphere.

Dunedin has as its heart a statue of the poet Robbie Burns, and many of its streets carry the same name as streets in Edinburgh. It was built in a time before the car was king, when trams and railways moved people around efficiently. It is built in a natural harbour on a relatively small area of flat land surrounded by steep hillsides.

7. Nelson

Safe and friendly, with New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours, surrounded by coastal and mountain scenery, three national parks, vineyards and orchards. Well known for its thriving arts culture and varied cuisine emphasising local produce.

Nelson is the second oldest settled city in New Zealand and the oldest in the South Island. Nelson is situated in a region often known as Nelson Tasman or the “Top of the South”.

Nelson is a compact coastal city set amongst some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery. The city is the economic and cultural centre for the Nelson-Tasman region and offers an excellent range of shopping, eating and cultural experiences with an abundance of parks, rivers, beaches and nature trails to explore. Nelson is named after British admiral Viscount Nelson and many streets and features such as Trafalgar Park and Hardy, Collingwood and Nile Streets, are named after his naval battles and comrades.

8. Napier

 “Art Deco capital of NZ”, destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 and rebuilt in this style. Famous as a wine region, especially Bordeaux style reds and Cape Kidnappers. Renowned golf course, gannet breeding grounds and wildlife sanctuary.

Napier is a city in Hawke’s Bay, on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The city is famed for its Art Deco architecture, and contains the largest concentration of inner-city Art Deco buildings in the world. The other main attraction there is wine — specifically from the wineries in Hawke’s Bay, now New Zealand’s second-largest wine-producing region behind Marlborough.

The nearby township of Taradale has the regions oldest and most famous wineries that host concerts during the summer seasons.

9. Hamilton 

128 km (80 mi) south of Auckland and leafy capital of the rich and fertile Waikato on the banks of the mighty Waikato River

Hamilton is an inland city in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island.

The Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river, flows through the middle of the city. This effectively cuts the city in half, with Hamilton West containing the Central Business District and main shopping areas. Hamilton East, among other things, is home to The University of Waikato, resulting in a large student population.

10. Kaikoura

known for its abundant wildlife and its sperm whale population. 
 
Kaikoura is a coastal town on the South Island of New Zealand. The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway winds from the town centre to lookout points at Point Kean. Close by, the rock platforms are home to a colony of New Zealand fur seals. The 1800s Fyffe House is a cottage built on a foundation of whalebones, with displays on the town’s whaling past.
 
Kaikoura lies on a narrow coastal plain between high mountains and the Pacific Ocean. In places along this coast the mountains drop almost straight into the sea, with barely enough flat land for a single railway line, two lane road and rocky beach to be accommodated and even then some short tunnels are needed on corners. The steepness of the mountains reflects the underwater geography as well and the continental shelf edge lies just offshore here.